ASBURY PARK, N.J. (BP)–The debate over same-sex “marriage” moved to Asbury Park, N.J., March 8, where two men received marriage licenses, only to have the state attorney general say hours later he would seek an injunction to halt the action.
New Jersey is the fifth state in recent weeks to see officials defy state law by “marrying” same-sex couples. The others are California, New Mexico, New York and Oregon.
Of the five states California is the only one with a defense of marriage act explicitly banning same-sex “marriage.” States’ individual marriage laws were written long before anyone conceived of the idea of same-sex “marriage.”
New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey said he is confident that Asbury Park’s action will be ruled invalid.
“It’s our view that any town that issues a marriage license to same-sex couples is not in compliance with the law and is essentially issuing worthless paper, since we suspect it will not be enforced by any court in this state,” Harvey told the Associated Press.
Other same-sex couples were in line at the city clerk’s office March 9, in hopes of receiving a license. The day before, Ric Best and Louis Navarrete became the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in the state. The two walked out to reporters after the ceremony, holding hands.
“We’re very, very happy today,” Best said, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Asbury Park is close to the New Jersey coast.
In his legal arguments Harvey is likely to point to a court decision from last year as precedent. Last November state Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg threw out a case involving seven homosexual couples seeking same-sex “marriage” legalization. It is being appealed.
“The right to marry has always been understood in law and tradition to apply only to couples of different genders,” Feinberg wrote. “A change in that basic understanding would not lift a restriction on the right, but would work a fundamental transformation of marriage into an arrangement that could never have been within the intent of the Framers of the 1947 [New Jersey] Constitution.
“Significantly, such a change would contradict the established and universally accepted legal precept that marriage is the union of people of different genders.”
Meanwhile, an Oregon judge March 8 refused to block Multnomah County from issuing marriage licenses. More than 1,600 same-sex couples have received the licenses.
Presiding Judge Dale Koch said a temporary restraining order should not be issued because the Defense of Marriage Coalition failed to show irreparable harm and a probability of success, according to The Oregonian.
The case now moves on to Circuit Judge Frank Bearden.
In Massachusetts, legislators are gearing up for a constitutional convention March 11, and they may have the votes to pass a compromise amendment. Senate President Robert E. Travaglini told The Boston Globe that he believes he has support for an amendment that would ban same-sex “marriage” while creating civil unions. But he added that the “situation is rather fluid” and the support could change.
Legislators met in February but failed to pass an amendment. It would require passage in two consecutive sessions before going to voters, which would be 2006 at the earliest.
The Massachusetts high court’s ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage” is scheduled to take effect in mid-May.
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